Invest in Youth

Lancashire’s Invest in Youth project was delivered exclusively by social enterprises and community organisations. As Lancashire’s social enterprise network, we are proud to have led this specialist partnership whose work transformed lives of young people across Lancashire.

This project began its work in 2016. Following two extensions the delivery continued until March 2023 and is now closed. Over 7 years, this project brought a total of £4.78M into Lancashire (funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund).



Invest in Youth was designed to transform the futures of young people aged between 15 and 24 who wanted to find work but were unable to without additional skills or support. Through this project we worked with young people who were not in employment, education or training (NEET), including young people at risk of becoming NEET.

Through the Invest in Youth project, participants received intensive support from a Key Worker to be able to engage in work readiness activity. Following an initial assessment of each participant’s individual interests and the barriers they faced around entering work or further learning, the Key Worker guided the participant to achieve milestones agreed within their personal action plan. Participation in support through the Invest in Youth project was voluntary, free to access and did not affect rights to benefits.

Invest in Youth had the target of supporting 1305 young people aged 15-24 over the project’s lifetime to overcome their barriers and move closer to employment, education or training.

We are delighted to highlight the impact our sector can have on meeting the needs of marginalised young people across Lancashire. Hear from some of the people involved in this short film.


Invest in Youth: Saving lives in Lancashire

The Invest in Youth project was independently evaluated and found to be “fundamental to people’s progression and well-being”. Without the project often people would be continuing to do ‘nothing’, being aimless and ‘lost’.

In some cases impact was even more profound, with several participants stating they may no longer be here if it wasn’t for the support they’ve had. The holistic, slow-paced support lead by key workers who the young people have developed strong bonds, was central to success:


‘Job Search’ statistics show outcomes from a comprehensive journey:

Each participant included in our formal project targets of ‘Job Search’ had reached a key milestone from a comprehensive journey. A raft of interventions were enabled for participants who were ‘furthest from the labour market’ and held back by complex circumstances – including domestic violence, lack of work experience or qualifications, housing instability, physical disabilities, mental health barriers, debt, PTSD, addictions and chaotic lifestyles.

The wide variety of skills and experience of Invest in Youth project partner staff teams enabled direct support to be tailored for individual participants. From their work to overcome challenges, participants could look ahead towards a fresh start, based on their interests: through coaching and mentoring, developing personal skills and building self-confidence, attending training courses and building qualifications and developing their CVs – altogether enabling participants to be able – and willing – to actively search and apply for jobs.


Additional Outcomes through Invest In Youth


Invest in Youth in Action:

Here are some of our participant’s journeys through this project:


The Invest in Youth project was part of the nationwide Building Better Opportunities programme to help tackle the poverty and social exclusion faced by the most disadvantaged people in England. The Building Better Opportunities programme was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.